Sir Robert Smirke, Design for showcases for The British Museum
London, England, 22 June 1839
For the Gallery of Minerals
As the present-day Museum building was erected, between the 1820s and 1840s, the Museum's collections were gradually moved from Montagu House. By the 1830s the Museum's natural history collections included thousands of specimens of minerals. In 1837 they were moved onto the upper floor of the north wing of the new building, which had just been finished. Together with the Museum's collection of geological specimens and fossils, it occupied the whole of the 'Long Gallery' (now Rooms 60-65, the upper Egyptian Galleries).
This is the design produced by Sir Robert Smirke, the architect of the new building, for fitting up the showcases for minerals in the Long Gallery with storage drawers.
The minerals remained in the gallery for more than 40 years. The Museum's collections were growing, and it was decided that, to make room for the antiquities, the natural history collections should move to another building. Between 1880 and 1885 they were transferred to their new building at South Kensington (the minerals were the first to go), where they formed the Natural History Museum.